I love using object lessons to teach the Bible. Many Bible object lessons can be used for a whole wide variety of age groups: from the littest littles to the most sophisticated adults. This M and M object lesson is great for kids and youth groups, though it would also be a great prompt for discussion and reflection for adults as well.
The major lesson in the M and M Bible object lesson: We are all gifted with different skills, interests, and abilities, and yet we are all filled with the same Spirit, and we are all called to be one body.
Note: This M and M Bible object lesson can also be done with Smarties. Although you can't include the part about being "marked" with Smarties, there is enough content in this object lesson to dwell fully on being differently gifted and yet filled with the same Spirit.
I ran this object lesson with my youth group using Smarties, because that's what they had at the store. (It worked just as well as with M and M's.)
M&M Object Lesson
What do M&Ms and Christians have in common?
I asked this question to my youth group the other day, and they were kind of stumped.
They said something about being all different colours. And something about having chocolate on the inside.
Which is basically right. But we can develop this different on the outside, the same on the inside theme a little farther by looking at some passages in the Bible.
Lesson #1: We all have different gifts
We are told in the Bible that we all have different gifts. We all have different interests, skill sets, experiences, etc. And yet, we are all part of one body.
We are called, as Christians, the body of Christ, and we are told that we are stronger together.
We need each other. We need the differences that we see among us. These differences are what make us stronger.
Bible Passage to Meditate On
1 Corinthians 12:12-30
The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.
Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body? If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything?
But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. How strange a body would be if it had only one part! Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.”
In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care. So we carefully protect those parts that should not be seen, while the more honorable parts do not require this special care. So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.
All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it. Here are some of the parts God has appointed for the church:
first are apostles,
second are prophets,
third are teachers,
then those who do miracles,
those who have the gift of healing,
those who can help others,
those who have the gift of leadership,
those who speak in unknown languages.
Are we all apostles? Are we all prophets? Are we all teachers? Do we all have the power to do miracles? Do we all have the gift of healing? Do we all have the ability to speak in unknown languages? Do we all have the ability to interpret unknown languages? Of course not! So you should earnestly desire the most helpful gifts
What are your gifts?
Are you gifted in teaching?
Are you well organized?
Can you get a group of people excited? Can you generate enthusiasm?
Are you good at listening and comforting people when they are hurting?
You can think about each colour of M&M as well, and compare them with your own personality traits.
(Maybe you have each person pick which colour or colours they feel best match their personality and their gifts.)
RED - assertive, bold, competitive.
BLUE - calm, dependable, solid.
YELLOW - friendly, positive, creative, encouraging.
GREEN - analytical, organized, practical, decisive.
ORANGE - assertive, outgoing, assertive.
BROWN - warm, inviting, trustworthy, wholesome.
Lesson #2: We are all loved the same and we all have the same Spirit inside us
Inside of every M&M is the same chocolate. Inside of every practicing Christian is the Holy Spirit.
When we live for Christ, he gives us his Spirit, which resides in us.
Just like M&M's, which are different on the outside but the same on the inside, so each of us are different but filled with the same Spirit.
Bible Passage to Meditate On
1 John 4:9-16
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.
We can also use our M&M object lesson to talk about God's love and how we are all loved the same.
In the Gospels, the disciples vie for position. Even though they know that they are all saved, that they are all equal, and that they are all children of God, still they fight over who gets to sit next to Christ in the Kingdom of Heaven (Mark 10:37).
But in reality, we are all adopted children of God (John 1;12, Galatians 3:26) and we are all loved the same.
Lesson #3: We are marked for a purpose
Just as M&M's are marked with an M, so we are marked with the Holy Spirit and we are set aside for a purpose: to spread the Gospel, heal the sick, and bring about God's kingdom.
Bible Passage to Meditate On
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Next time you see M&M's, remember these Bible object lessons. Just like M&M's, Christians are marked for a purpose, to bring about God's kingdom and to exist in fellowship with Him. We are all gifted differently, and yet we are all filled with the same Spirit and we are called one body.